Exploring the Risk Factors of Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a common vascular disorder affecting many people worldwide, particularly those over 50. It develops when the arteries supplying blood to your legs, arms, and other body parts become narrowed or blocked, leading to reduced blood flow and potential tissue damage. If left untreated, this disorder can cause symptoms ranging from mild discomfort and cramping to severe pain and even tissue death. You can work with your Plano board certified vein and vascular specialist at Heart and Vascular Care to determine ways to reduce your risk for peripheral artery disease.

1. High blood pressure

When your blood pressure is consistently high, it can damage the walls of your arteries, accumulating plaque and narrowing the blood vessels. Over time, reduced blood flow to your limbs can cause pain, cramping, and other symptoms associated with PAD. Additionally, high blood pressure can increase the risk of blood clots forming in your arteries, which can further block blood flow and increase your risk of PAD.

2. High cholesterol

High cholesterol in your bloodstream can contribute to plaque formation in the arteries, leading to PAD. It can also cause inflammation in the blood vessels, further narrowing them and making them more susceptible to plaque buildup. Additionally, high cholesterol levels can worsen the symptoms of PAD, leading to pain, cramping, and difficulty walking. If left untreated, PAD can increase your risk of complications such as infections, ulcers, and even amputations. Therefore, you should work with your provider to manage your cholesterol levels and minimize your risk of developing PAD.

3. Smoking

The chemicals in the smoke can damage the inner lining of your arteries, causing them to become thick and narrowed, which restricts blood flow to your legs and feet. This damage to the arteries also leads to the buildup of plaque and increases your risk of developing blood clots. Additionally, smoking can cause your blood vessels to constrict, further reducing blood flow to your limbs. This unhealthy habit also impairs your body’s ability to heal and recover from the damage due to PAD. In addition, smokers with PAD are more likely to experience complications, such as infections and poor wound healing, which can lead to serious limb damage or even amputation.

4. Diabetes

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that interferes with how the body processes glucose, leading to high blood sugar levels. This condition can damage your blood vessels, causing them to narrow and stiffen and increasing your risk of developing peripheral artery disease. Diabetes can also increase bad cholesterol levels in your blood, which can contribute to plaque formation in your blood vessels.

5. Old age

As you age, the walls of your arteries become less elastic and may accumulate fatty deposits, making them less flexible and more prone to blockage. Additionally, old age increases your risk of developing chronic conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, which can further increase your risk of developing PAD. As you get older, your ability to recover from injuries and illnesses decreases, which can further increase your risk of PAD-related complications.

If you experience symptoms of PAD, call Dr. Singh or schedule an appointment online for diagnosis and treatment.

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